Ukrainian interpreter in Shreveport shares story of hometown being hit by Russian missiles
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Even before Russia launched its war against Ukraine, traveling from that eastern European nation to the United States was a difficult journey. Now, with missiles raining down on Ukrainian cities, and soldiers fighting with Russian forces in the country’s southern cities, getting a visa into the U.S. is an almost impossible task.
Recently, KSLA’s Priscilla Borrego sat down with a young Ukrainian woman whose dream was to visit the U.S. And while she just cleared all the necessary hurdles and landed in Shreveport, her trip has been very emotional.
For Diana Chigantseva, a Ukrainian interpreter, coming to America has been a six-year goal in the making, previously set out long before the pandemic and the war started. After arriving in America just a few months prior with a travel visa in hand, what should have been a very joyous occasion has proven to be a very difficult decision.
“I didn’t want to come here in the beginning of the war because I knew that this was the thing that I had dreamed of, but I don’t want to experience that during the war,” Chigantseva said.
Even though she is physically safe in the U.S., mentally, she can’t escape her harsh reality. Just days before KSLA’s interview with her, her own city was put in the crosshairs of Russian missile file.
“I saw a lot messages, a lot of messages from my friends, who said that… I’m sorry... they said that we had missiles attack in our city,” Chigantseva said through tears.
RELATED>>> Bossier City family fights for adoptive children stuck in Ukraine
Chigantseva tried desperately to reach her parents, not knowing if they had made it through the night alive.
“The friends who messaged me back and who live close to my parents told me that everything was okay and just that there were about seven houses were destroyed and that some people died,” said Chigantseva.
And while Chigantseva’s parents are safe, she says the thought of losing the people she loves most, and the place she calls home, is always on her mind.
“Every time, you just don’t know where it can happen, and even if my city doesn’t have it all the time, like every day like some cities have right now, it is always scary,” she said.
For this resilient woman, she knows her stay in the United States is anything but permanent; she’s set to head back to her hometown, which has been badly damaged, in the next few days. When asked if she’s scared to go back, she was quick to quote her father, saying she must follow her faith, not her feelings.
“To go back home? I mean, I know that God knows our first day and last day, so with my friends, we say the most scary thing for us is not to die. The most scary thing is to actually lose somebody. That is why a lot of families try to be together, because if you die, you die together,” said Chigantseva.
Chigantseva has since arrived safely back home in Ukraine.
Copyright 2023 KSLA. All rights reserved.